Vera : Late last year Hypnotic Dirge Records has rereleased – more precisely on the 18th of November – the album ‘Fragments Of A Fallen Star’ by the Canadian Harrow in nice digipak format. The album was an independent release from the band itself in 2013, but now it is available on the European market. Harrow is made up of Ian Campbell and Kyle Brickell, both multi-instrumentalists and they do everything on their own.
Initially it seemed quite a do-it-yourself effort with some flaws. Yet several spins make us learn more. We have some potential here, that’s true, although it sounds a bit basic and thin from time to time. Once again this happens to be a release with lengthy songs, the first one, the title track, takes already eighteen minutes of your time and as expected it takes its time to unfold slowly. More than three minutes we are submerged in an atmospheric bath of cosmic sounds, until slow, drawling plucking guitars are featured. Clean vocals have an emo tinge, it reminds me of the drawling chants of Smashing Pumpkins. Then it promptly switches to pure black metal with familiar tremolo picking leads. They play tight, there are solos as well, but sometimes it gets a bit monotonous. After a wild guitar intro, ‘Keening’ gets murky and groove-laden with sturdy doom riffs and an eerie, distorted voice. This is occult and later it gets faster and smooth. ‘Song Of Seasons’ initially goes for fast, orthodox black metal, later it gets slower. The instrumental ‘If The Sky Falls, We Shall Catch Larks’ (sublime title) turned into my favourite. It starts with acoustic guitars and banjo (guest musician Ray Hawes), includes an epic outburst and any folk elements in the Primordial way, but finally explodes with vintage guitar skills (fine soloing that has the nearest approach to Krautrock). Weird outfit, this Canadian Harrow. There is room for improvement, but quite interesting to follow, also for aficionados of post metal, since more than once I got an Agalloch or Wolves In The Throne Room flavour.